|Three hundred miles away, directly in the sun and with the camera on all the wrong settings - a Crane is a Crane, and that'll do nicely
Back at base after a hugely enjoyable day in the field, feeling very lucky regarding how recent weeks have panned out. As previously described, from a birding perspective I've been effectively out of action for a month; working and then touring the new record in London and the south & west, a wholly debilitating bout of influenza, and then good friends staying - all the time with absolutely sweet f.a. happening out there in Birdland (thank you gods). This morning, we waved goodbye to our latest guests, I grabbed the (dusty) Leicas and the Canon and jumped on the bike, and as if by magic, migration kicked in.
|Red Kite, south over the salty water and en route to Flamborough
News of a freshly-arrived, locally very rare, probably (partially or wholly) plastic female Red Crested Pochard at the Dams was - despite its A-list status (the first since 1978 apparently) - somewhat underwhelming, and I so cycled southbound instead, and pitched up at a favoured high-ground spot on the clifftop, overlooking the bay by the golf course. With the wind dropping and swinging WSW, mist and brightness vying for dominance and a small but significant rise in temperature, I was hoping it'd be enough to trigger some much overdue movement.
|Southbound Common Buzzard
It was. I began scanning at 1029, and at 1033, a high, distant, bleached-out, but unmistakably heart-stopping shape circled way up in the ether - unbelievably, a Common Crane, before I'd even had chance to check the settings on the camera or crack open the flask. Happy, happy days. For the next two hours, I grinned inanely at passing dog-walkers while additionally clocking a Red Kite over the bay, plus at least three Common Buzzards, a Common Snipe, a Pintail, numerous Linnets, Tree Sparrows, alba Wags and Yellowhammers and over 360 Meadow Pipits coasting above and beside me, topped off by a cracking male Wheatear on the 18th green, the first here this spring.
|A rare, if probably rubber ducky
Pitching up at the Dams after a break for lunch, I was told the RCP had gone. It hadn't, and after a half-hour or so chin-wagging with various visitors, I watched it swim past the hide, giving a cheery wave on its way for a siesta in the reeds. Add on fresh-in Chiffys and Goldcrests, a fall of Blackbirds and various ducks in the bay late on, and it's mighty fine to be back in the ring.